Friday, November 14, 2008

Review > Nicros > Burly Bits / Diff Tex Footchips

Nicros Handholds
We've have had the pleasure of reviewing some sweet holds in the past month, some big jugs, some not so big jugs and slappy sloppers, but now we're going back to my personal favorite the crimps :P Enter the Burly Bits from Nicros.If we want to get technical, the Burly Bits aren't all crimps. The set was designed by Kimberly down at Nicros to simulate the feel of granite. Although all these holds are small (three fingers at most) they aren't all crimps. The set includes pinches and (for lack of a better term) slopes. Enter stage right the Diff Tex foot chips from Nicros, the perfect compliment to the Burly's:So we took the two sets of holds and put up a route at our local gym, Allez Up. If ever you get a set of the foot chips in your possession you`ll realize that its going to take a laser sight on your shoes to pinpoint the good part of the hold, we had a lot of people with sloppy footwork get some air time! The holds are ideal for mad balance moves and are great for face climbs and that is where I ended up setting my route, it started below a fairly large bulge, went up and over the top and then straight up a vertical wall to it's conculsion, if your footwork was bad then you were going to have a hell of a time getting to the top, even though the route was only graded 5.9+

You would think that the Diff Tex foot chips are dual tex but they're not they have a textured area and an non textured area (Editors note: isn't that dual tex?), which is different from a Dual Tex hold, confused? So where we... here's what the Nicros site says this about them:
"1 Tick footchips offer a little more texture and varies the location of the texture when compared to the No Tick footchips. We offer three different sets of the same shapes that sport both a "textured" area as well as an "untextured" area with the texture located in different areas of the hold. These holds force you to really look at your foot placements. Isn't that what improved footwork is all about? Technical Course Setters rave about these footchips!"
Ah see, these are different from normal footchips! Nicros are being sneaky!! So these aren't your normal Dual Tex foot chips these are really really deciving... more than you think, they should pretty well be in most setters bags we think, especially as there four different variations of the same shapes!! Yup FOUR, one set textured, one set with practically no texture, and then two sets with small areas (like we have) but in different places, so you can leave up the same handholds and just switch the feet!! Would we be so mean to do that?? HELL YEAH, i'd bring a chair and a cup of coffee and watch people just get spat off of the wall :)

The Burly Bits on the other hand are dual tex! They're all made with the textured part on either side, and can be used as pinches, while the center part is smooth. It doesn't make much difference when you're using them as hand holds but there will be no smears when it comes to your feet. After bringing them back from the gym you could see the rubber on the textured part of the hold only. The crimps are bigger than you would expect due to some of the large incuts but they can still bite the fingers a little, not in a "ow ow ow" way, but in a positive way that lets you know you're on the hold properly! The sloping shapes from the set would be best on a slab. Once again balance is needed to navigate these holds.

And onto our wall :) We had them on the wall before they went to the gym, and we were having a hard time with them on the 30 degree overhang, they're do-able, but you really need to hold on! They make for some great powerful climbing, and again when you pair them with the footchips, you're going to be screaming to hold on and to get your feet on the good part of the hold. It's well documented that Noodles doesn't like crimps, he likes his fingers and would rather leave the superburly (HA!) climbing for outside or when he's competeing, but that being said even he thought that they were some pretty interesting shapes, with a good mix of shapes.

When we brought the holds to the gym they where set on a vertical wall. Most people could get through the climb and there where no complaints about the size but when you put them on any kind of overhang, look out!!! The crimps are bearable and the little "slopers" are only good for your feet. Some people did come back with the comment that the hold shapes felt a little too similar from hold to hold, it's a interesting point and one that we looked at once we brought the holds home, there is a degree of similarity between some of the holds but as they're all crimps with a small variation in size we can see why people think this! (It's also because we did have some duplicate holds up there aswell :P) Overall it was fun watching people try to grab the footchips rather than some of the holds to get up the route... wrong move!!

If you need to set some technical balancy moves on a slab or vertical wall these are something you should look at, if you want crimps for anything past 30 degrees overhung we suggest you give them a miss.... hopefully Kim-Burly will shape some more of the same style holds that are better suited to steeply overhung walls :)

The footchips can be used anywhere, they're going to tax peoples footwork to the absolute limit, from vertical to steeply overhung terrain we're having a hoot and will probably pick up the other sets pretty soon... they're that good!!

Ok, so I don't want to sound like a hater but... What happened there? First of all, these holds are ugly! It's like they tried to go all 80s about it (which I would luuuuuuuv) but then chickened out of it last minute and ended up with lightly colored wannabe tie-dyed swirls on a easily dirtied boring white background! The hand holds are shaped alright, crimps being crimps they're not comfortable per say but fairly easy to stick to. Gives a nice challenge, for me! The foot holds on the other hand are a bloody nightmare (great, the Brit rubbed off!) Either I'd slip right off or, when I'd find something more usable, I'd have to hang there, looking like I've got a twitch, trying to land EXACTLY at the millimeter where your toe fits nicely. Personally, I like a little more flexibility. It should be noted that the swirly Burlys were much more appreciated (by me mind you) on the boulder than on the wall. I think it's because having the right hand sequence is crucial to success with these holds (since your feet seem to hang there for show more then for support) and if you screw up on the wall, it quickly becomes a long power route. No good for my girly arms! want a challenge? There's a challenge! I hope you don't use much leg flexibility and balance work when you climb though! (Editors note: Chris' route at the gym was all flexibilty and foot work, and it was wicked)
I love 'em! As far as small holds go, these are definitely among my favorites. There is a really good variety of angles in the set, both positive and negative, and also a good variety in the depth of the holds. It keeps climbing interesting, while keeping you from getting too comfortable up on the wall, which is a good thing. The texture is by far my favorite thing about them though. The best word I can think of to describe it is "chunky". Don't ask why, you won't understand until you've held the hold yourself. It's not like anything I've ever really seen in the gym before. Probably the closest plastic has ever felt to real rock to me. Kudos to the designers on this one! The foot holds are nice, but in my opinion nothing to get too excited about. Definitely a good addition to any climbing wall and definitely a challenge. Not too many flat edges here! I would say a really good set to practice keeping your feet on the wall while its trying to spit you off.
  • Great for setting
  • Big pinches, small pinches, crimps... mini slopes, this set has them all
  • Footchips are super technical, you will end up with great footwork!!
  • Could pop a tendon on an overhang, crimpings baaaad!
  • Some of the shapes do feel a little similar to one another
Burly Bits are $27.97 (Normally $39.95 THEY'RE ON SALE!) for 10 holds
Diff Tex Footchips are $37.95 for 10 holds, there are four different sets for your setting pleasure!


doug said...

Detroit flavor.

ntmb said...

??? please explain ???